Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Election Day…For the Security Council

And you thought the Obama-Romney matchup was the only hot election mess! Today, elections commence to fill 5 spots on the Security Council. “These include one seat for the African Group, currently held by South Africa; one seat for the Asia-Pacific Group, currently held by India; one seat for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC), currently held by Colombia; and two seats for the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), currently held by Germany and Portugal. Two candidates-Argentina (GRULAC) and Rwanda (African Group)-are running on a “clean slate”, as no other candidates from their respective regional groups have declared their intention to run…In contrast, the Asia-Pacific Group and WEOG seats are being contested. Three Asia-Pacific candidates-Bhutan, Cambodia and the Republic of Korea-are competing for one seat, while three WEOG countries-Australia, Finland and Luxembourg-are competing for two seats. (The two WEOG seats were also contested in 2008 (Austria, Turkey and Iceland) and 2010 (Canada, Germany and Portugal). In recent years the Asia-Pacific seat was contested in 2006 (Indonesia and Nepal) and in 2008 (Japan and Iran).) To secure a seat on the Council, a country must secure votes from two-thirds of the member states present and voting in the General-Assembly session, regardless of whether or not it is running on a “clean slate.” This means that a minimum of 129 votes are required to win a seat if all 193 UN member states participate.” (What’s in Blue http://bit.ly/RH19tj)

Uruguay Becomes Second Latin American Country to Legalize Abortion

Some progress on reproductive rights in Latin America. “Uruguay is joining Cuba as the second Latin American nation to legalize abortion in cases other than rape, incest and the life of the mother after the Senate passed a bill President Jose Mujica has vowed to sign. Uruguay’s Senate backed the measure Wednesday by a 17 to 14 vote. The lower house passed the legislation by a single vote on Sept. 26. Once signed by Mujica, abortion for women over the age of 18 in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy will be legal in the South American country for the first time since 1937. Former President Tabare Vazquez vetoed similar legislation in 2008…Most Latin American nations restrict abortion, while Chile and Nicaragua ban it outright, and few are likely to follow Uruguay’s lead. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights last week asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to intervene in the case of an El Salvadoran woman sentenced to two years in prison for inducing an abortion.” (Salt Lake Tribune http://bit.ly/RH3e8H)

WHO: Progress Made Against TB, But More Funds Needed

New data on the global fight against Tuberculosis was released in the World Health Organization’s Global TB Report 2012. “The UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halting and reversing the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2015 has been achieved, and the world is on track to meet the target of reducing global TB prevalence by 50 percent by 2015. But the progress has been irregular, with Africa and Europe lagging behind the rest of the world, according to the new Global Tuberculosis report by the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “In the space of 17 years, 51 million people have been successfully treated and cared for… Without that treatment, 20 million people would have died,” Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Stop TB Department, said in a statement…The report highlights successes in rolling-out a rapid TB diagnostic test, as well as the successful implementation of collaborative HIV and TB activities. Globally, 40 percent of TB patients had a documented HIV test result, and 79 percent of HIV-positive people received co-trimoxazole, an antibiotic preventive therapy, in 2011. Additionally, progress continues to be seen in the development of new medical interventions. However, the report also took note of several issues threatening progress in the fight against TB: In 2011, there were an estimated 8.7 million new TB cases and 1.4 million deaths, 430,000 of which were among people co-infected with HIV. In addition, a US$1.4 billion funding gap for research and a shortfall of $3 billion per year for TB control and care between 2013 and 2015 ‘could have severe consequences for TB control.’” (IRIN http://bit.ly/WAKdGi) And for the full report (WHO http://bit.ly/WAKjx)

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